Brahmos cruise missile, a Joint Venture between India and Russia, is a supersonic cruise missile capable of flying at a speed of Mach 3 up to a distance of 300km. The missile is capable of being launched from all three dimensions i.e. land, air, and sea including underwater from a submarine, it can be used as a land-attack missile to do precision strikes as well as for an anti-shipping role.
Brahmos steep dive capability allows it to strike behind the mountain in land-attack mode and provide carrier killer capability in an anti-ship role, not just that its advanced sensors allow target discrimination and identification among multiple targets as well as allow changing of the target. Brahmos is a true gem of the India-Russia alliance which is being constantly upgraded.
A recent interview which featured on livefist between defense journalist Shiv Aroor and Dr. Sudhir K. Mishra, CEO & MD of Brahmos Aerospace revealed some of the latest such updates on the ongoing and future projects which are being discussed below :
- DRDO developed an Indigenous active X-band mono-pulse RF seeker will replace a similar seeker of Russian origin, the production prototype of the said seeker should be available within 6-8 months with serial production following. The seeker has already been successfully tested in a couple of tests.
- DRDO is also developing a new RF SCAN millimeter-wave Imaging seeker for Brahmos/Brahmos-II. This kind of seeker allows radio image painting capability which will improve target discrimination and identification capabilities in a cluttered environment.
- The range of the missile is being increased from the current 300km to 450km to eventually 600km. The missile with an extended range of 450km+ is already been tested a few times. It is said all missiles currently in the inventory of the Indian Armed forces can have its range extended to 450km by simply removing a software limitation that restricts the range to 300km.
- The Plan is also to increase the speed of the missile from Mach 3 to closer Mach 5 using the current engine only. This will also include extending the range probably up to 800km. The time frame, as described by Dr. Sudhir, for this is around 2 years.
- Brahmos currently have indigenous content close to 60%. In the future, the indigenous content target for the missile is around 80%, and steps are already been taken to move in that direction with the development of indigenous seeker, booster motor, etc.
- The missile CEP has improved considerably over time. As per Dr. Sudhir, Brahmos started with a CEP of 25m which came down to 10m and currently he states it to be closer to ZERO or conservatively state it to be a single-digit CEP.
- On ongoing talks with several countries with respect to the export of Brahmos and yet getting any success, he said that decision to export is taken on ministry level which depends on GOI assessment of the country to which the system is to be exported. This hints that although many countries are interested in buying Brahmos, it is GOI which is not moving ahead with the export of Brahmos.
- Coming to point of Brahmos NG, a smaller and lighter version of current Brahmos, Dr. Sudhir pointed out that the missile is still only on the drawing board with forces yet to give requirement for it. However, as per him, forces have hinted their interest in the missile and hardware realization phase for the NG variant may start soon.
- On point of integrating Brahmos SLCM version with upcoming P75I submarines, he said that the Indian Navy is yet to approach Brahmos Aerospace for it. The missile can only be launched through VLS in the submarine(capabilities already been proven) since its size and dimensions don’t allow it to be launched from torpedo tubes of the submarine and currently there is no submarine in Indian service which has VLS.
- Brahmos-II i.e. Hypersonic version of Brahmos is likely to be powered by DRDO developed Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV), a scramjet engine planned to achieve a speed of Mach 10+. This suggests that the missile will likely be indigenous as opposed to earlier speculation that it will be based on the Zircon hypersonic cruise missile of Russia.